|THEODORE P. HENKELL.|
Theodore P. Henkell has been an active factor in the
development of Wyoming. For twenty years he was boss carpenter
with the Union Pacific Coal Company and he is vice president of the
Carbon State Bank. He was born May 19, 1844, in Hessleholm, Sweden,
a son of Peter Peterson, who was also a native of that country,
where he spent his entire life, there successfully following the
occupation of farming to the time of his death, which occurred in
1851, when he was sixty-five years of age. His wife bore the maiden
name of Parnelia Troedsen. She was also a native of Sweden and there
passed her entire life, her death occurring in 1856, when she was
sixty-five years of age.
Theodore P. Henkell is the only survivor of four children. He was educated in the schools of his native country and there remained until he reached the age of twenty-four, when in 1868 he crossed the Atlantic to the United States. When twelve years of age, however, he had started out to provide for his own support and has since been dependent entirely upon his own resources. In fact, he has been self-supporting from the day when his mother died. He learned the carpenter’s trade in Sweden and followed that pursuit there until he determined to try his fortune in the new world. Making his way across the briny deep in 1868, he landed at New York, the latter part of July after a seventeen days’ voyage from Glasgow, Scotland. He then resumed his journey into the interior of the country, settling at Omaha, Nebraska. He found employment at his trade, working on the first bridge constructed between Council Bluffs and Omaha across the Missouri river. Mr. Kendall, the boss of the bridge construction, took an interest in young Henkell and recommended him for a job in the Union Pacific shops at Omaha. Our subject later worked along the line of the road in the erection of depots and in this way made his way westward to Wyoming, where he arrived in May, 1870. Later he secured employment in the mines of the Wyoming Coal Company at Rock Springs, remaining there until a strike occurred in November of that year, when he left his position and went to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he again worked at his trade of carpenter, spending one year in that locality. He next returned to the service of the Union Pacific Railroad Company in connection with the construction of the road and the building and repairing of snow sheds between Evanston and Laramie. At Rock Creek he met an old Omaha friend who persuaded him to return to Carbon and work in the mines where wages were very good, the men earning from five to seven dollars per day. He there followed mining for nine months. His leaving the mines was due largely to the accidental death of a fellow miner when the room caved in on him. This determined Mr. Henkell to quit the mines and he returned to his original trade of carpenter, which he has followed continuously since save for a period of four years when he served as county assessor of Carbon county and as county clerk, occupying each office two years. On his retirement from public office he returned to Carbon and resumed his old position. At the time that he was assessor he met with a serious accident, falling down a mine shaft and fracturing one of his legs, an accident that incapacitated him for a considerable period. He has been with the Union Pacific Railroad Company and Union Pacific Coal Company for almost a half century and is one of its oldest and most trusted employes. For the past twenty years he has occupied the position of boss carpenter, his promotions being in recognition of his marked ability in his line Of work and his faithfulness to the interests of the corporation which he represents. He has also become well known as a factor in local financial circles, being the vice president of the Carbon State Bank, the oldest state bank in Wyoming.
Mr. Henkell has been married twice. In 1880 he wedded at Carbon, Wyoming. Nellie Blake, a native of Missouri, and to them was born one child, Hilda, who is now the wife of J. Foss, a resident of Acme, Wyoming. Mrs. Henkell passed away when but twenty-four years of age, her death occurring in 1882 as a result of a kerosene explosion. In November, 1884, in Carbon, Wyoming, Mr. Henkell was again married, his second union being with Miss Bena Svenson, a native of Sweden, and to them were born two children. Arthur is now a master mechanic at Hanna, Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Wyoming. Alma is the wife of S. D. Briggs, of Hanna, mentioned elsewhere in this work. On account of ill health, the altitude of Wyoming proving detrimental to her, Mrs. Henkell is obliged to reside in Denver, where they have an attractive home.
In 1876 Mr. Henkell returned to Sweden on a visit, remaining abroad for seven months. When elected to the offices of county clerk anti county assessor he was a supporter of the democratic party. Since then he has become an advocate of republican principles but at local elections casts an independent ballot, paying little regard to party ties. Fraternally he is a Mason of high rank, having taken the degrees of the Knight Templar Commandery and the Mystic Shrine, being a member of Korein Temple, at Rawlins, where he also belongs to the other masonic bodies. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Woodmen of the World, while his religious faith is that of the Lutheran church. In these associations are found much of the nature of his interests and the rules which govern his conduct. He is a man highly esteemed by all who know him and most of all where he is best known. His has been a most creditable record. He came to the new world empty-handed, desirous of winning success through honorable business efforts, and as the years have passed he has steadily progressed. He has been the architect of his own fortunes and has builded wisely and well.